Playwriting Part 2

Step 5- Choose your protagonist

The protagonist is usually the main character in the play who will drive the action forward.

 Because this play is to take place in a kitchen- the maltreated person is likely to be female. Someone who has come into the household from elsewhere – abroad maybe or because something has changed in the family. Could this person be a relative who is economically dependent?  Or someone who has come into the family by marriage- a step child for example? We need to think of a working name for this character- let us use the name Cinderella.

Step 6- Choose Your Characters

You now need to think about the main characters you want in a play. At this stage it does not matter if we do not know all the characters but we do need to have all the characters so that we can move ahead with the plot. We know that the protagonist is to be a young woman in a family who is maltreated by her siblings- she is likely to be a step child. One of her parents has remarried and their new spouse resents this young woman

As Cinderella is maltreated within a family setting we need to think about the other members of the family. We will need one of her actual parents plus a step parent. We then need some step siblings and maybe one of the other servants.

Working list of characters

  1. Cinderella
  2. Her natural parent
  3. Her step parent
  4. Her step siblings
  5. Other servant(s)

Step 8 Think of an ending.

The ending is likely to reflect the point that you want to make.  You probably had some idea what this would be when you thought of a theme.

We want to show that it is possible for people to escape these situations. The ending needs to show how this girl manages to escape and has a happy life.

Step 9 – Review

Time to Review

Before moving on, it is a good idea to pause and reflect on where you are with your plot. You may be happy with what you have decided or you might wish to change things. Playwriting is an iterative process which means that you should expect to return to and redraft your work whilst you are crafting your play.

By this stage you should have:

  • A theme for the play
  • Topics you wish to address
  • A suitable setting for the play
  • Identified a protagonist who will drive the plot forward
  • Some likely characters
  • How you would like the play to end

We need a girl who is exploited by people, treated almost as a slave in that she has to work hard for no pay, she is isolated and therefore can’t escape. Our play will need to show her being badly treated and overworked. A suitable setting for this is a girl in domestic service, a step child ostracised by her new family that comprises of her father, step mother, step sisters. We need to add a bit if contrast so let us have a person who is kind to this girl- this could be another servant. We can make her geographically and socially isolated by ensuring that she works somewhere from which she can’t escape. Let us set our play in a large house or castle in the middle of nowhere. We want the play to end having shown her escaping her situation.

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